A new essay of mine called "Turning Our Fairytales Feral Again," is now up at Dark Mountain. Do come see! Here are the first two paragraphs...
"There are some stories that have weathered the ages. Weathered them, literally— from the mouth of an old man around a fire of peat, smoking until the story he is telling is black and tobacco-stained, to the girl who heard it and carried it with her out into the sheep fields, then into the city, working two jobs to feed her children, all the while touching on the strength of wild swans in her memory; from the ancient fire pit around which it was first told and shaped, maybe as far back as the making of bronze things, maybe just at the time the priests came and built churches, to the anthology of Irish Folktales in which some semblance of it was written down in the late 19th century, and the subsequent re-printings, slightly changed re-writings, the battered pages, the dunks in bathtubs, the days left out on the porch in the rain. We may call many myths fairytales, now, as if to diminish their seriousness; whatever we call them, they are old and powerful, when we peel them back. They are full of the magic of animals, land, and people.
Humans are storytelling creatures. We need story, we need deep mythic happenings, as much as we need food and sun: to set us in our place in the family of things, in a world that lives and breathes and throws us wild tests, to show us the wildernesses and the lakes, the transforming swans, of our own minds. These minds of ours, after all, are themselves wild, shaped directly by our long legacy as hunters, as readers of wind, fir-tip, animal trail, paw-mark in mud. We are made for narrative, because narrative is what once led us to food, be it elk, salmonberry or hare; to that sacred communion of one body being eaten by another, literally transformed, and afterward sung to."
Come read more! (Cached version)